Canada Soccer

Art Hughes, Hall of Fame honoured member, dies at 88

Posted on 5 March 2019 in Around the Soccer World

Art Hughes, a Canada Soccer Hall of Fame member and two-time Canadian champion, has passed away peacefully at the age of 88 in Vancouver. One of Canada’s top goalscorers through the 1950s and 1960s, he scored twice in Canada’s first-ever competitive international match in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in 1957.

Hughes, a tall centre forward that played in Vancouver, scored more than 250 goals in league and cup competitions over a 17-year career from 1950-51 to 1966-67. He led the Pacific Coast League in scoring four times and retired as the league’s all-time scoring leader with 158 goals (only surpassed by two goals by Bobby Smith in 1972). He was the league’s top goaslcorer in the 1950s with 114 goals scored across the decade.

Hughes won Canada Soccer’s Championship in 1956 with Vancouver Hale-Co FC and 1965 with Vancouver Firefighters FC. He was MVP and top scorer in 1965, scoring seven goals across three matches. He won national runners up medals with Vancouver St. Andrews FC in 1951, Westminster Royals FC in 1959, and Firefighters FC in 1961.

While Hughes played with several teams throughout his career, he was best known for his time with Firefighters FC where he won five of his joint-record seven Pacific Coast League championships (1954-55, 1961-62, 1963-64, 1964-65, 1965-66). He won additional Pacific Coast League titles with Hale-Co FC (1958) and Royals FC (1959), but also won the Mainland League championship (1958-59 and 1960-61) and Kennedy Cup (1962) with Firefighters FC.

Hughes was an 11-time all-star selection in a 15-year span from 1951 to 1965, although he missed a call-up to Canada’s national team in 1956 through injury. In 1957, Hughes was Canada’s starting centre forward for FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, scoring twice in the opening 5:1 victory over USA at Varsity Stadium in Toronto. In 1959, Hughes was the first-ever winner of the Austin Delany Trophy as the Pacific Coast League’s Most Valuable Player. In 1960, he captained Canada’s national team on an exhibition tour of the Soviet Union and United Kingdom.

Wrote Roy Jukich of the Vancouver Sun in 1961, Hughes was “noted for his ability to rise to the occasion in important matches.” Remembered Jeff Cross of the Province in 1999, Hughes “was a robust, no-nonsense type of striker who was also very good in the air.” Said former teammate Jim Blundell earlier this year, “Art Hughes was kind of a perfectionist. He knew where the net was and he could hit a good header. If you got the ball in the middle where Arty was, he would do something with it for sure.”

Art Hughes, nicknamed “Hard Rock” or “Cowboy,” was a long-time member of the Vancouver Fire Department where he served as an assistant chief. Born in Camrose, Alberta on 1 October 1930, he was a teenager when he moved with his family to Vancouver. He passed away in Vancouver on Monday 4 March 2019. He was predeceased by his wife Marlene and he is survived by their daughters Susan and Stacey Ann as well as their families.

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